from Aundrea Payne International Speech Contest Regional Finalist
To District 25,
I have been trying to find the right words for you for weeks. I’m still speechless. (Someone, please press the unmute button!)
Reflecting on this journey brings tears to my eyes. I realize how lucky I am to represent this INCREDIBLE DISTRICT. This journey began in my home club of Strategic Communicators. The club is filled with superstar individuals impacting change within and outside the Toastmasters organization. Initially, I saw competing in competitions as a way to add value to my club, hone my speaking skills, and introduce myself to the district as its newest member.
It turned into something more.
This journey has shown me the heart of this district. I have met many individuals serving and shining in different aspects of our D25 community. We are a diverse district, but we find ways to bridge our differences, allowing the voices of others to be heard. I am humbled to know that I am one of the thousands of shining rays of the sun that is the district.
“We did it” were the first words I said to my club when I heard my name called on the district stage. Now I repeat the words to the district. “We did it!”
This unexpected new journey has been nerve-wracking, demanding but rewarding. Balancing speech prep, MBA classes, corporate duties, club officer responsibilities, and Area Director duties proved challenging initially. One day, sitting in my car contemplating my life decisions, I received an encouraging text from our Strategic Communicators Vice President of Education, Bobby Madera. His message reminded me of something important: I am not alone.
None of this would have been possible without you. The support that I have received from my club, the Trio, and the D25 members motivates me to give this my all.
Special thanks to Dr. Tim Hill, Fursey Gotuaco, Bryan Flanagan, and Daniel Usera for providing insightful feedback and encouragement during speech development.
Thank you for trusting me with this platform to speak and represent this district. I look forward to sharing the lessons learned in the Bahamas and takeaways to give to our members. I will do my best to make you all proud.
I hope my journey shows members that you have a voice that needs to be heard and a place to share your sunshine.
See you in the Bahamas.